African finance ministers, regarded as the powerful clique in dictating industrial policy, are set for a 25-30 March meeting in Abuja, Nigeria, to talk about generating economic growth that creates jobs and grows industries.
Amid new concerns over failure to raise Africa’s share of manufactured products despite acquiring new markets in Europe and the Americas, the finance ministers hope to narrow differences over their approach to economic transformation.
The UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the think-tank behind the continental growth strategy -- the Action Plan for Accelerated Industrial Development of Africa -- says there is a need to focus on “inclusive growth”.
“Growth has not generated sufficient job opportunities for Africa’s youthful and rapidly growing population,” the ECA said in a note ahead of the Abuja meeting. “Growth continues to be driven by exports and primary commodities.”
ECA regrets that African raw materials continue to generate economic growth in the rest of the world, while the continent suffers from a manufacturing decline.
While most African countries have minerals, oil and gas, the continental think-tank says their ability to independently invest in the processing of those minerals is greatly hindered by the huge amount of financial investments required.
“Concerns about the limited inclusiveness of the continent’s growth experience have rekindled interest in structural economic transformation underpinned by commodity-based industrialization as a pathway for inclusive and sustainable development,” said the ECA.
ECA says industrialization in Africa should be measured by the rising in manufacturing productivity, growth in wages through value addition and use of modern technologies, which would in turn create decent jobs.